The Dorley Cycle XX

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV ; Part XVI ; Part XVII ; Part XVIII ; Part XIX

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires8

XX

Previously: Jackson made his move: the town of Dorley is burning; the monsters are on the run and Guy is nowhere to be found; Paulie is presumably dead and Eli is missing in the raging sea; Jackson found a hidden cave and hoped to find vengeance most of all in there. Now..

I sat down working a way with shaky fingers to strap my broken wrist. I tore at my sleeve and I continued shredding it till there was a reasonable looking piece that I could tie and swing around my neck. I rested the broken bones, flinching at the injection of pain and stood up, feeling the throbbing of snapped bones slightly eased.

Behind me swelling tides were reminiscent of the storm that was so near I could smell the sweet strong aroma of fresh ozone. I took that remarkable scent of new beginnings and filled my lungs with it.

Then I climbed the steps and disappeared through the jagged fissure of the cave.

Inside the moist quickly damped my clothes and stuck them to my shivery skeleton. In some fury of their own the waves threw themselves inside and bathed my numb feet. I walked in cold pools of water, slipping to hit hard stone, scratching at the wall, my only solace to steady myself up again. For what was darkness in my first blind steps, which led mostly down, I lost the break of the waves and above all the deep gulping voice of the sea groaning from its core. This cave was the silent pass, the ritual chamber of Dorley’s people. Bad memories and ill fates stormed the air along with the fragrance of moist and sweat.

I started hearing my own blood hammering inside my ears, trying to fill in the emptiness, which seemed impossible and delusional, or maybe I was those. I coughed and thought it be someone else standing behind me, his coarse throated whisper brushing at my earlobe. I rushed along the uneven path and discovered in the echo someone else’s footsteps catching up in the dying splashes. I stopped unable to move, forgetting distance and time in the pitch black. My eyes adjusted as much as to find stalagmites and stalactites looking like the sharp teeth of this monster mouthed cave. I shut them close sinking into my own darkness which seemed more familiar and comforting. Then I heard a buzzing sound and with wide opened eyes found the faint flicker of electricity.

The light burned out when I stood before it, but in a chain along the wall the others were working, old timey electric arc lamps modified from their floor vintage selves to those, deeply nailed into the stone. Their rusty enclosures were ancient. I wondered if Guy had put them here once upon a time.

Now with the light on my side the cave seemed shorter, but casting me shadows I didn’t want to see. I thought about man’s ability to find faces in objects. I thought about how diverse that shared horror power was, because all I could see where monsters with spread whipping arms. Ain’t something one would want to walk among. Dragging my chains, without a body to hold my hand to the bottom of this journey, I walked, a prisoner of twisted fate and the good lord I presumed.

The light showed me the cave was after all just one large chamber which walls wept in small rivulets. The slippery slide that guided me to its center was nothing but 200-300 meters in half of which I had lost and baffled myself. The suicidal arc light beamed here and there, just enough for me to walk a circle.

If the group of people I followed came in here they were either long gone or hiding in the shadows my artificial lights couldn’t reach. But there was only one spot which caught my attention, crawling along the far wall of the cave which slept in total blackness. So then, I was open prey. I was in a spotlight from which any of them could steal me in the dark and induce their poison down my body. My face stiffened. I was, in this state, vulnerable to be have and be killed.

Killed…But the darkness lured.  The longer I stared, the less emptiness I found. Suddenly the opposite stared back.

I crossed the chamber balancing my numb and heavy body, the sensation of solitude lifting up from me. I had something here with me, without a breath, without a heartbeat, but definitely present.

The whole of the dark smelled foul; the closer I got the stronger the odor got.

My trembling hand, outstretched fingers fumbled in the ghost air, penetrating the curtain which I tried to blink away; but it was unforgiving now and it no longer molded me and guided me. I grazed with the tips, my nails scraping at something soft and mushy and I pulled my hand back quickly feeling my fingers sticky. I stepped closer, determined to examine more.

I got the idea of something growing on this wall, something I was certain I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. I ran my hand up and down measuring in my mind the size of this parasite, shaking with tremors genuine fear of the big and possibly asleep, possibly alive. But then a brighter beam of light from behind me bathed the entire wall and mouth agape, not caring of who stood there, I saw it.

Its eye, the size of a basketball, weak in color, a white pupil rotated upwards, glowed somewhat alive with the light on it and I saw myself inside it, shivering uncontrollably now. I traced its full length, from the mantle to the very tips of those whipping tongues – it covered the entire of the wall glued to it in a slimy cocoon, the massive bleak reddish- purple body of the creature preserved in some final charge, eight arms wild and spread, crimson-red veins mapping the semi-transparent skin. The same limbs as those Guy and Paulie had shown me, but ten times the size and ornamented with subspherical suction cups bigger than my palm; its two long tentacles though, were clubs hiding enlarged suckers gifted with rows of small sharp teeth.

I stepped back from this colossal cephalopod creature that extended beyond 20 meters and beyond any of my so hated childhood stories. I fell back, my body pressing against that of another, who still held the light high. 

To be continued…. 

The Dorley Cycle XIX

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV ; Part XVI ; Part XVII ; Part XVIII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires6

XIX

The whiteness bleached and blended back to color, the pier reappearing engulfed in flame. The ringing in my ears though remained so as I was flung away from the blast, the burning heat pushing my body, I watched, deaf, how part of the pier collapsed into the sea, and how Ferris wheel caught fire. It was in an instant that I hit the water with a force that left me breathless and invited a mouthful of water inside my lungs.

I sunk along with floating pieces of coal-black wood, but I was alive.

Slowly my limbs came back to life, brushing the heaviness of the sea in a mad churn in search for up, but finding down, facing what I couldn’t see. I felt raindrops like bullets rain over me.

I swam frantically, kicking fiercely to push myself upwards and find the surface. Not long after my fingers dug into wet, hard sand, and I crawled into the very shallow, breathing in the salty water that clung to the whole of my body, biting into my open wounds. I vomited blood and water till I had those to vomit, feeling my stomach hurt and my guts shrunk in my belly. Then I just lay in it, cold as the water was, warm as the air was, harsh as the rain was.

Noises came and went around me, my eyes finding seizures of bright explosions swept away by black skies that expanded in bursts.  I smelled the smoke and choked on it, fits of confusion and alarm overcoming me. After heartbeats, clearance came, having me hear sirens loud and clear and thunders dry and overhanging. I stood up, whiplashed by the rain that did nothing to stop the spreading disaster.

Dorley was burning.

I watched mesmerized the sight, admiring the aggression I had set free. I let ash stick to my face and I welcomed the heat of nearby fire, letting it dry me up. To my right ol’ Dorley was in flames too, puffing out the blackest of smokes and combusting in the brightest orange that reflected dark red in the water.  At first I couldn’t tell where the fire had started but there was one place that could have ignited such a beautiful spark. I wondered who had set the fuel shacks on fire.

Kicking sand and half-running I tried to get myself back on the street. The fire had caught on the entire length of the pier and had spread, taken by the wind to the buildings across the street. The bottom of the hill was fiery speckled and I had no doubt it would soon spread further and climb up to the hotel.

The Ferris wheel protested, its lights popping out. The cables sizzled and snapped free from the arm of the wheel, flapping electrical tongues that transformed the air around into a sparkling net, charging the raindrops as they fell, absorbing. The wheel flickered and went dead, the leather seats shedding in lumps of stench down through burned holes.

People ran past me, frantic in their own try for rescue. I made my way through their ricocheting screams, tourists, reporters, desperate policemen, children crying for their parents, all black-faced and terrified. I didn’t care which of them were monsters.

I didn’t see Guy’s burned body anywhere near the pier. I didn’t see him limping away. I kept looking, almost tempted to call his name over the roar of everything else.

It had become Hell in less than fifteen minutes and no one knew where to go. No one, except those that amidst the chaos were different. I found them burning in the middle of the street, melting but still alive, their weak tentacle arms darting helplessly from their coal parched mouths as their bodies lurched into a mindless flee in and out the fire. I heard them screech, such a low and hurting noise that would exist otherwise only submerged, and I knew that what I saw in that dream of mine was true – it was weak, and it could be killed.

But then as I walked further, I also saw them hurrying in groups towards the beach over which the pier was collapsing and I followed.

I kept my distance from the path of falling things. Wannabe survivors made a run for the sea and shadowlike I moved with them, hunched in my mess of a figure. My group was making way down the coastline to the end of it where the largest of white stone sea cliffs stood rough shaped. I found footprints, quickly washed away by the ever-growing ill foamed waves and I stepped in them before they disappeared. Treading like this, towards whatever comes I kept thinking of miracles and weighted in my chances of winning right now, because it wasn’t over, that much was clear. Guy was not dead for sure, but he wasn’t human and he was a fast healer. He had lived here long before me, molding Dorley in his own liking. He wasn’t going to let go easily.

The sea-washed my feet. I half expected Eli’s body to wash at my feet and blame me. I was alone again, and that mesmerizing, powerful sensation of being in control evaporated. Realism hit hard; me, bare handed and broken, steamed by the fire, shaken by the cold, cold water, soaked to the very bones.

Soon the sand was gone and I had slippery stone under me. I curled my fingers for a grip somewhere on the slick rock that extended large into the sea. There was a man-sized arch cut into it and I carefully squeezed through it. On the other side there were small inner islands of sharp rocks that led to a piece of land, three steps carved into it which ran to the entrance of a cave.

I watched my way going there and then I stood on toes on the first step looking up into the gaping void feeling the cool breath of its insides.

Chapter XX

The Dorley Cycle XVIII

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV ; Part XVI ; Part XVII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires5

XVIII

Paulie sat down hard and when I turned to see my damage he was tracing his shaking fingers along his face. In my panic I hadn’t noticed how long it was, but seeing it pierced through his cheek down inside his mouth and out of his chin, a dripping half tip that his finger grazed I understood his shock. His eyes filled with tears and he moaned into the cold glass, his tongue darting to lick away the pooling blood. He wanted to grab at it I saw, pull it out. I picked whatever adrenaline I had and surged into one mighty kick and tumbled Paulie over and left him laying, a close call from falling into the dark waters.

I stood up and limped back, holding what was broken close to my chest.

Eli had just untied the boat. He jumped in and started the engine.

“Jackson, get in.”

There was about a two feet gap between the dock and the boat. I prepared to leap over it.

“Jackson!”

There was a gunshot. I turned. Paulie, dear ol’ broken Paulie had saved the best for last, aiming my own gun at me. His face was contorted.

“You gotta jump Jackson!”

I jumped and at the same time the gun fired again. The bullet sliced, hot, burning hot. I fell in the boat among red bottles of fuel

I curled into a ball, squeezing my leg, blood seeping between my fingers. I tore at the fabric, clawing my way through the denim. The projectile had struck me in the thigh, living a fresh bleeding wound, but as the blood soaked into the torn piece of cloth, I saw it was nothing more than a deeper scratch.

“Are you okay?”

Eli drove the thing as fast as he could, flying bullets shattering the glass of the cabin.

I managed a positive sort of hum and peeked out from my hiding. Paulie ran along the dock till there was a dock. Then he disappeared out of sight and soon the pier along with the Ferris wheel came into. I heard sirens coming to life in the background.

We had the pier ahead of us and the boat rumbled lowly towards it. The drizzle had turned into a steady rain. A thunder rolled in the distance.

“Okay what now? How do we load this stuff to your car?”

Ahead, the Ferris wheel swam, rotating in a counterclockwise mirage conjured by my pain and exhaustion. Even in the beat down daylight its bright green lights shone emerald. I scanned the pier further on.

“Is there a ladder there?”

Eli nodded.

“Steer her near it.”

Eli aimed the boat for the narrow gap between the widest pillars, just behind the ladder, and turned off the engine. He walked out of the small cabin holding a lighter in his hand. I took it.

I ran my bloodied fingers along the lids of the bottles, unscrewing one of them, reaching for the second before stopping myself. The boat rocked gently in the quiet dark and I rocked back and forth in my own black pit, setting my feet at the bottom of it. I was lead, I was an anchor, I was the skin that made the hole, I was the sea that filled its belly. Washed, I remembered, cleansed, the gentle flesh though no longer hurting, no longer sensitive. It was, beforehand surreal to think me in the pattern of death, but now as Dorley is at its weakest I have a different taste for surviving. I’ve made my peace with the sea and with the constant growl inside my ears. I’ve been cold, but now I’m warming up.

I gestured Eli to climb up. I suffered a little with my one-handed grip, but once up he grabbed me and pulled me onto the pier.

“Jackson…”

His voice trailed off and I could see why when I got to my feet. Guy was there, striped and entertainment like, but no smile.

“Hear those sirens Mr. Jackson? I haven’t heard ones like this in twenty years. Sounds like murder to me.”

He pointed at me like trying to imply my murder.

“Hope they find Paulie where I left him.”

A nerve convulsed on his perfect face at my lie. Paulie no doubt was coming here, knowing we would come, like he knew about us going to the docks before. I’d be more than happy to have them both here with me when I light everything.

“You’ll be dead too, Guy. In fact we all will.”

“By what right?”

“By the one that put us four limbed fucks on this earth and not you tentacle sons of bitches.”

“Primitive of you. Imbecilic. Don’t think of this as devolution of your kind and evolution of ours. We are merely trying to coexist, have some solidity. Merge perhaps, no?”

Guy licked his lips with a crippled limb, one I had vague memory of having bitten into.

“Are you so injured and tormented Jackson that you would waste yourself and that poor boy’s life? Can’t you just give up and go home? Make it a nightmare, nothing more than sweat on your brow.”

He smiled at me.

“Look at you, battered and abused. What now, are you going to die? After all you went through? In fact why don’t you let me help you forget everything and put this lunacy behind us. Let Dorley be peaceful again. Let us keep it safe.”

I shook my head violently, looking at my feet, seeing a crack instead, and through it the bright red of the fuel bottles. Why not now?, I thought, why fuckin’ not?

I smiled back at him.

“This is my home. This is me keeping it safe.”

I showed him the lighter.

“There’s a boat full of fuel bellow me. I let this Zippo go we all fly up.”

Eli pushed away from me.

“You promised no one will get hurt Jackson! You promised!”

“I lied.”

I took him by surprise giving him one hard shove with my shoulder sending him flying off the pier and down to a big splash.

“Swim fast kid.”

I flicked the lighter and dropped it, watching the dancing flame fall through the gap, licking the fumes first and spark a fiery cloud. Guy was already turning to run. Where to, I don’t know; as the pier shook between our legs, I ran too, but the groundbreaking groan filled the space in an instant, and grew into an eruption of fire from below. A second one boomed somewhere near as the explosion made everything go white.

Chapter XIX

The Dorley Cycle XVI

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires3

XVI

 Previously in Dorley: Jackson made an effort to get back in the game  and found an unlike ally in the face of Eli who admitted to have witnessed the monsters; Paulie then took the POV lead for an insight in the duel between humans and ancient critters and his position in it all. 

Now…

I followed without being seen, knowin’ my back alleys and my anti-tourist roads. Jackson held the boy close to him, like a daddy mad at his kid for runnin’ at the coast when the flag is up and red. Jackson went back to the rental, throwing glances left and right, lookin’ no doubt for me. He went in. After a while I did too.

It was quiet inside, the kinda cool quiet you get in the middle of the night. Old walls made no voices audible and all I could hear was my breathing and the heaviness of my footsteps coming down on old wood. His scent though, Jackson’s, lingered in the air and it smelled now jus’  like Guy had said it did when he had tasted him- foul, comin’ from a belly full of sea; a breath carryin’ salt. To Guy he smelled familiar, to me he smelled like a dyin’ animal, shedding its skin to appear new. Fuck that crap. He was scared shitless now that he knew what were really the stakes.

A key turned in some lock and golly me; the landlord, Arnold, was pushing his nose in the chain restrained hole of his door.

“Heya, Paulie, I hoped I’d catch you around. This fella you brought in, he hasn’t signed a thing and I was wondering if you knew something about that.”

His slender figure slipped out of what seemed to be that gap in his door and he stood there pinching a loose button on his shirt. He was a nervous guy, one I always assumed jerked off on child porn then regretted it in the mirror. I picked my words carefully around him. A man barely livin’ outside his room is no man I trust.

“I’ll remind him, don’t worry. I’ll slip the filled in form under your door if you want to, it’s fine by me.”

I took a step up. He did the same, fingers drumming on the handrail.

“Thing is, I haven’t even seen him, and he is renting one of my rooms. Seems, ya know, unfair.”

I used some simple talk.

“I’ve been thinkin’ about that too Arnie.”, I said, “ I’ll tell him to stop by, knock and give you a nod, is that allright with ya?”

He licked his lips, moistening the dryness. He kept drumming.

“I was wondering, actually, with all the police around and about if he’s an okay fella”, he added.

Then all of a sudden he squeezed past me, climbing stairs to the second floor where Jackson was, mumbling all the while.

“Maybe I should go check on him, say hello. He’s in here now, isn’t he? I heard some knocking and stomping earlier.”

I grabbed him below the elbow and dragged his body back the two steps, till he was back standing next to me in the tight space of the staircase.

“I’ll see he comes to you”, I repeated, glaring for the imply, thinkin’ he better let it go. My mouth was full of spit. I needed a smoke. He had gone silent, buyin’ time, I guess, with my fingers dug into his flesh.

“I don’t know about that”, he finally said.

I shook my head and swiftly span him pinning his body to the wall, my hand hard on his mouth. I took him down, kicked his door in and pushed him after it. He stumbled in and I picked up a lamp from the small table, slammin’ it against his head. He fell in my arms and I put him to lie on the carpet, adding a little of my spray to keep him there longer. Then I listened for any movement outside, shit, fuck and more fuck on my lips for the racket I had just caused.

When I heard none I took the steps, quietly as I could, coming closer to the sobs of somebody and the hushing of another.  I crouched beside the door where my shadow couldn’t be seen and listened, now making out full words.

“Will you help me, Eli?”

A pause. I leaned in.

“Yeah, yeah I will. Tell me what to do.”

That was the boy I reckoned, crying his tears of fears, ha-ha, to the really frightened one.

“I need gasoline. Can you help with that?”

“Some folks keep bottles stored in the shacks down at the docks. Plenty actually.”

“Can you get some of those?”

“Yeah. But why do you need it?”

“We need it, Eli, to burn the nest, the one in the trailer park. No one else will get hurt, just them. You got me on this Eli, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Good man. You kept your daddy’s boat?”

“Yes. She’s in order, runnin’ and ready.”

 There was another pause. I heard a chair slidin’ across the floorboards and then the slow pace of a man plotting giving them the hard time. Jackson did the walk, he sure did. Then he spoke again, his voice, just like when he had spoken to me about bullets and winning.

“We go now, load it up with as many bottles as we can and drive the boat below the pier. No one will see us hidden there. We can take my car from there and go to the trailer park.”

I moved back. His car was totaled, thrown over the side of the road. Jackson was playin’ the kid, but why I couldn’t yet tell. A fire I could see though, a blazin’ disaster.

“We’ll do this together, blast the fuckers up.”,  I heard him say, walking down the stairs. And the kid asking oh so innocent like:

“And no one else will get hurt, right?”

“Not a soul, I promise. Let’s go.”

Not a soul, sure.

I heard him unlock upstairs and pushed open the back door.

 

Chapter XVII

 

The Dorley Cycle XIV

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XII; Part XIII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires

 

XIV

An ambulance, led by a police car, no siren, only lights drove past us. I kept myself to myself, head hanging low, arm tight around Eli, and thought they’d finally found him, the Chief, or some other body with peculiar discoloration, a hollow stomach and a rotting pit for a mouth. When the silent convoy was away I quickened my pace, looking around, finding faces where there were none.

The old coast had turned into a memorial and people made lines carrying flowers, pictures, cards, teddy bears, placing them in a circle near the spot where the bodies were found. I heard sobs, remembering there were mothers in Dorley, and whereas the fathers were stern, the harshness had spared the mothers and they wept.

He finally escaped my grasp, jolting me aside.

“I just want to talk, Eli. All I’m asking for is five minutes and then if you don’t understand or don’t care about what I’ve said, I’ll go away.”

Eli looked anywhere but me. My eyes found a female officer standing guard to the grieving ceremony. He looked at her too.

“I don’t trust you.”

I grabbed his arm thinking he’d make a run for it, screaming murderer for the whole of Dorley to hear.

“Let go of me!”

“I was here when no one else cared about you, not your mother, not your father, no one in this family. I stood next to you when your daddy got put in the ground. I was going to take you with me, back to Boston if it weren’t for the things that happened. I’m trying hard to get to you kid, but you’re not helping. Be angry, fine, be doubtful. But give me a chance to say what I gotta say.”

He stopped fighting me and I let go of him.

“I got a room nearby. It’d be best if we talked there.”

After a long pause Eli nodded.

 

The building seemed empty and I pictured the landlord dozed off again in his dungeon of a room. The front door was locked and I fumbled my pockets for the key. Maybe Paulie was here waiting for me, sitting at the foot of the stairs or breathing in the boiled sea stench that escaped into my cold and lonely room. Maybe I’d fight him there and show Eli what hid inside his mouth. Maybe he’d try to talk to me and convince me again how good it was to die and be over with it. One way ticket away from Dorley. I glanced back feeling goose bumps.

There were eyes on us, motionless figures with carved grey faces, boring their glimmering black orbs into me and Eli. The men from the pub stood across the street, a procession of their own, carrying a decorated wooden cross. I smiled to them, letting them know I knew. The man with the checked red shirt was there. He offered me a salute. I was to know I was surrounded. Good.

The door opened with a creak.

There was a note attached to a piece of paper pushed under my door. If it was convenient I was to fill in the form, put down my name and period of stay. It was signed with a scribble more than a name. I tossed it aside. Eli sat on my bed and I grabbed the only chair in the room and sat facing him.

“Why were you at the police station, Eli?”

He looked at the floor then at me.

“I was called in for questioning.”

I leaned in.

“Did they ask about me?”

“Yes.”

The two officers dealing with me were clueless to whom I was, but I had the feeling Eli met with the black suited gentleman instead. My heart thumped in my ears.

“Did you tell them I was here?”

“Yes.”

It was a matter of time before they found me and locked me, this time for good.

“What else did they ask?”

“If you murdered those two kids.”

“And what did you tell them?”

“I said I didn’t know.”

Eli rubbed his palms against his jeans.

“Did you?”

I looked at him, and he wasn’t asking angrily, he wasn’t judging. He was frightened of the truth.

“No. I tried to tell you before there are things in Dorley that are scary and deadly.”

“One of the detectives showed me a picture of a girl from twenty years ago, then he made me look at the close-ups of those two kids. I don’t understand how they can look like that.”

It was a genuine confusion.

“They’re very old, he told me, venomous creatures that had once roamed seas. Now they’re here, making a king. They killed the Chief of police, they killed those two kids and they will kill more. I don’t know how far the FBI will dig into this before they get harmed too, but I know I can make it stop. This thing is still weak and I can kill it.”

“You are talking about monsters again Jackson. And they aren’t real.”

“You saw those photos. You saw the marks, those sucker marks. Your daddy taught you the marine world didn’t he?”

“Giant squids.”, he muttered.

“Something like that, yeah.”

He kept on babbling.

“He said he saw one of those when he was little. He said it was bigger than a house. He said many crazy things while he was dying.”

“These aren’t stories. These are real Eli and they are here in Dorley.”

He began to cry, uncontrollable sobs mixed with snot. I sat back in my chair. The boy wasn’t arguing my sanity. He was fighting back denial, refusing to believe he knew some truth. Then he began talking.

“We were fooling around, Kieran and I. We got drunk and smoked, and went on his motorcycle up the hill to the trailer park. He told me we could fuck around with the retards make them say stupid shit and I went with him. Only they weren’t like he said. There was something coming out of this woman, coming out down from her. And it wasn’t just her. There were more and all these things came out of them and burned in the fire. I don’t understand, Jackson, I don’t understand.”

I grabbed him, steadying his shakings.

They sacrificed the weak to make room for the strong. Only there weren’t strong ones being born.

I stood up, excitement washing over me. The bottomless hole stirred, a clearing creeping in, smearing the blackness away.

“I’m going to kill them all. Will you help me, Eli?”

 

 Chapter XV 

The Dorley Cycle X

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX

AND FOR A LITTLE TREAT:  The Dorley Cycle in one comic strip

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhux

X

Paulie made small whimpering noises while I searched the car for my gun. I punched the glove compartment and it fell off, still bearing two bullets inside.

“Get up.”

He looked at me pathetically, blinking blood off his eyes. His face was beginning to swell.

I pulled him up, the barrel pressed to his gut and pushed him to walk in front of me. He tripped and fell, crawled on all fours, stumbled back to his feet, and limped down the dirt road like a drunk, struggling to find his feet and not cry, and I didn’t move a muscle to help him. He lied. He deceived me. I found a piece of Dorley that was sane and innocent enough to balance all the bullshit accumulating around me. He even fuckin’ saved my life! So, what was I supposed to believe in now?

I licked my dry lips. There was only one thing left in that black pit inside me that I could trust – the cleansing I came back for. Correcting the wrong that has corrupted Dorley. Draining the whirlpool.

I grabbed him by his jacket and knocked him off stance, pulling his body towards mine, shoving the gun in his cheek. His hands went to mine, trying to push the gun away. I moved my free hand to wrap it around his throat.

“Who is the reason for it all Paulie?”

He screamed when the steel pushed deeper into his cuts, reopening the steaming wounds. I loosened the grip on his wind pipe. His voice trembled.

“I tell you, you shoot me right away.”

I was glad I couldn’t really see his face right now. The words bubbled up in his mouth more than before and I could imagine spits of saliva sliding over his chin, dripping like slimy tears all over his front.

“You don’t I do it either way.”

I grabbed hold of his hair and jerked his head backwards, sliding the gun inside his mouth. He bit the steel and cried out again. I whispered in his ear.

“I will be quick if you tell me where to go.”

He mumbled something and gagged. I slid out the gun and shoved him off of me. The look on his face told it all: he wasn’t going to spill. I was to follow. Fuck to this. I had him at aim.

Paulie pointed at the gun in my hand.

“You ain’t got enough bullets to shoot a whole town.”

In the distance behind him, Dorley shinned like a black pearl, swimming in a black sea of waves curving like the intestines of a giant beast. It was calm, but secretly dangerous. I feared what it would be when awake. Him, Paulie, he made no difference alive or dead. He was a speck that irritated my eye right now.

“I will win.”

“You won’t. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about survival, Jackson. You can’t adapt. Your mind refuses to accept Dorley as it is and that’s slowly killing you. You drifted away from yourself. Who were you before this? I don’t think you know anymore. You’re not a survivor.”

I laughed.

“What makes you so fucking sure?”

“The way I see it, difference between you and me is that I want to live. I want to continue to exist, and you don’t. You’d bury yourself along with Dorley. You push me down the road aiming a gun you know you won’t fire, because you know death awaits at the end and you don’t give two shits about it. You just want it over with. “

He spoke fast and confident, not scared, not alerted.

I lowered the gun, staring at him. It would be easier, won’t it?

“It was never about the others. It was about you meeting an end fit for your story, am I right Jackson? I am taking you there, friend. I will help you finish this. Everything that’s been tormenting you for the past two years will go away.”

The gun rested in my hand.

He is taking me to die. He will help me accept there is no rescue, only in death, only when the eyes are closed and the heart is beating no longer. I will hum her song no more, nor dream of the blood in her hair. I will forget their tormented faces, and her, the sacrificial lamb. I will be free.

“I am not fit.”

“I was going to tell you when we got back in town. You didn’t need to do this. But don’t worry, you’ll get rewarded nonetheless.”

***

The semi-darkness turned to ash, the morning near. We were back in Dorley, back on the streets of ignorance and Paulie was leading me, I no longer the assailant.

He carried his lame body along the pier, quickening his step, his boots hitting hard on the wood. He sighed with relief.

“Here we are, Jackson.”

I looked up.

There was a soft click-clacking noise and one by one the Ferris wheel’s light bulbs buzzed with green, drawing back into life the frame of the wheel. It casted ghoulish highlights on me and Paulie.

The music rolled into its repetitive rhythm, but it was low and it was just a playful background on which the most cheerful laugh I’ve ever heard sounded.

“I told you you’d come back later.”

 

Chapter XI

The Dorley Cycle goes comics!

BOOM! HERE YOU GO – A COMIC STRIP OF THE DORLEY CYCLE!

I love writing Dorley and I love receiving feedback on its progress, but I wanted to do a little something, something for it, and for everyone, just for fun. I’m by no means an artist – I draw cheap looking manga when I’m bored! But stubbornness and passion (some stencil effects and studying perspectives heh) helped create this comic strip. It’s a million and one light years away from being perfect, but I think at the end it worked out pretty sweet! So befor chapter X, enjoy this little thingy. xx 

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The Dorley Cycle IX

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu45

 

IX

 

Hangovers are a God-given gift opposed to the pain surging through my head now.

The spot on the back of my head where the gun handle had landed was bulged and it hurt like a bitch when I touched it. I sat myself up blinking in the dark, trying to make out shapes. When I finally did, I was looking at a dozen dent mobile homes. I was obviously outside of Dorley. Most of them looked abandoned, windows smashed and detached doors slamming, abiding the wind till they can. It looked like a damn overgrown with thin grass graveyard for shitty, rotten toilets, because that’s how the air smelled.

Last I checked I was in Chief Frank Wayman’s house with my gun at him and his ominous words against me.

I rubbed my forehead. Then there were gunshots. And Paulie..

Stumbling back to my feet I looked around for the guy.

“Paulie?”

I walked calling for him, receiving no answer, just the quiet being as quiet as possible.

“PAULIE!”

A loud thump came from inside one of the mobile homes. I stopped, my eyes searching for a moving figure.

“Is someone there?”

I climbed in peering into the dark. It stank of piss here too, but there wasn’t anyone in. I circled the tight space kicking cups and rusty forks. Then I heard a gurgling sort of noise behind me. I stared at the window, half expecting for a wild animal to jump in and attack me, but when nothing happened I went over and took to look outside myself. Two eyes were staring at me from below and when the crouched figure stood up I fell hard on my back with a scream on my lips.

I ran back outside cursing under my breath for the lack of my gun.

There was a man facing me on the other side of the mobile home. He had his hand pushed inside his mouth, but then he pulled it out and the noise that was rumbling deep in his throat like a growl was slurped even deeper, settling in his belly. I took a step back. The man walked towards me and I could see behind him more shadows joining.

“Who the fuck are you?”

They were two other men and one woman, wearing worn out shirts and short jeans, and she a dress that weren’t fitting her no more. They were just watching me now, scared and amused at the same time. Tilting their heads and drooling yellow spits from their loose mouths on their already stained clothes, they reminded me of Paulie, but a broken, abused Paulie.

The four of them simultaneously coughed out a word through missing teeth and it sounded to me like “andros.”

“All four of you are called like that huh?”

The woman grabbed the length of her dress and lifted it up to show me her naked bruised body and swollen belly. I would have thought she was pregnant if the walls of her stomach weren’t probed by something desperately trying to force its way out. She moaned, with pain or pleasure, I didn’t know.

“Get away from him you retards. Leave the man alone! Git, I said.”

Paulie moved passed me, a cigarette between his full lips. The four of them scattered like dogs.

He took me by the shoulder and led me away, down a steeper hill to a dirt road where my car was parked with the trunk opened.

His jacket was covered in blood.

“Paulie, why is there blood on you?”

“I a, had to dispose of the body you know.”

Oh shit.

“You killed the chief of police.” I looked at the wet stain in my trunk still mingled with red where it couldn’t wash.

“That I did. “

“Why?”

“You were getting yourself in serious trouble. I knew you’d go look for him as soon as I told you, just as I knew he’d be telling you bullcrap jus to mess with your head so he can put you back in that mental hospital. I saved you.”

I looked at him remembering what chief Wayman had said about all of Dorley talking about my return.

“That you did.”

He started the car.

“We’re 3 miles outside of Dorley. The trailer park was a rental camping site once. Safest place I know to bury a body.”

I nodded.

“And what about those people?”

“Ah, local folks, but deranged, you saw. Not much I know about them except they’ve been living here since forever.”

“Think me mad, but there was something off about them. Like they weren’t all human.“

“Must be from the blow to the head. Sorry about that one. You’ll get a good rest now.”

In the blackness behind my eyelids I looked into the bottomless hole again. I saw a truth that had evaded me.

“Wayman mentioned about some arrival around 86’, linked to the murder of Anne Henderson.”

I buckled my belt.

“He told me that I was being watched. He warned me something was coming to get me too. I wonder whether it already hasn’t.”

I reached out.

He took his eyes off the road just in time to see me grab the wheel. The car went off road and the wheels bounced giving the car a brief flight before it crashed, landing sideways.

***

I brushed a trail of blood from my forehead and unbuckled. I kicked the door open and climbed out of the car.

Paulie was laying 6 feet away, face into the gravel.

“You shouldn’t’ have lied to me.”

I turned him over. His face was sliced and covered with blood.

I raised my fist and brought it down on his face, feeling glass cut into my knuckles.

“This ends today. You tell me whoever is behind it all or I will end you right here.”

He grabbed me by the jacket.

“You don’t understand.”

“Fuckin’ explain then.”

His deep greens swam with tears.

“I’ll take you.”

 

Chapter X

The Dorley Cycle VIII

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu4

 

VIII

The radio station was transmitting some gibberish in my beat old 87’ Buick Grand National, noises and wheezes that played on a loop, giving birth to words that probably meant something, somewhere, to someone.  I drove into new Dorley and parked by the pier. Past ten thirty pm, the place was empty and all the shops were closed. There was some of Venice crawling by, milky and going on thick, settling above my head. The only thing that broke through, were the Ferris wheel colored lights, which now shone in bright green. I breathed mist and it tasted sea rotten, clams and squids dissolving, uncooked in a pot.

I sat on the hood toying with the gun in my hands, feeling it light and comforting. My thoughts were marbles rolling away, down the pier and into the sea, where they sank to a bottomless hole, which I could see into when I squeeze-shut my eyes.

In the blackness a phone rang. I opened my eyes. Across the street a phone was ringing. Payphones in Dorley don’t ring, because they don’t work. I went over and picked it up nonetheless, listening to the breathing void of a line gone dead, hearing the sea in there, closer and closer.

I put a coin in silencing the waves and dialed 999. The line went live.

“Wake up Frank Wayman if he’s asleep. Call him if he’s there. Tell him I know about Anne Henderson. I will wait by the pier. Tell him that too.”

I hung up before the woman on the other side could protest and made sure the phone stayed silent. Then I went back to the car, swinging the gun in one hand. There was a man standing by the ticket booth dressed in a crimson striped waistcoat and matching trousers, and the same colored wing tips.

“Care for a ride sir?”, he said gesturing at the Ferris wheel.

“Ain’t it a bit late for that to run?”, I asked nodding at the attraction behind him.

He pushed back his straw boater hat and laughed, and I’d be damned if that laugh wasn’t the most cheerful one I’ve ever heard. It went on forever and his sharp draws for breath chased the fog away.

“It’s never late to take the wheel! I’d be happy to run it just for you if that’s what you’ll wish for.”

His lips were stretched in a pearly white smile, cheek to cheek. I smirked, thinking he either didn’t see the gun or didn’t care about it.

“Maybe another time.”

“Perhaps later?”, he raised his eyebrows and laughed again, a universe of comedy and cheer laughing with him in some celebration that jolted aside the horrors of death and reborn myths.

“Perhaps.”

He tipped his hat, then pointed somewhere behind me before disappearing inside the mist. I turned around to see a police SUV nearing. A moment later the Ferris wheel went dark, three rings shutting down one after another, leaving a faint glow of green to linger as they went.

The SUV pulled next to me.

Frank Wayman was a sixty something year old pissed off looking man, the same one I presume exists in every small town all around the US. He had the squinted eyebrows and the bags under his dark eyes. His moustache was smoke stained and his chin skin hung a tad bit. He had a face carved from stone.

“Get in.”

I climbed on the passenger seat and shut the door. He spoke after a while.

“Anne Henderson? Haven’t heard that name in twenty years. I got nothing more to say there. “

“Yet you came.”

“I wanted to have a look at you.”

He drove through the administrative lane where everything was the same. It was as if I was looking at an old snapshot; highlighted colors, but the same failing façade. A few minutes later I was looking at the dark pier in the rare view mirror.

Wayman stopped in front of a house near the highway junction. I followed him inside a poorly furnished living room.

“I saw the crime scene photo of Anne Henderson, Wayman. The two teens dead on the beach have the same markings on their skin as her, and she was murdered in 86’ under some weird circumstances. I want to know what killed her.”

“That’s a strange way to put it. You say what instead of who; kinda gets me thinking you have a different idea.”

Chief Wayman was solid and I could tell that just by the way he looked at me then, his eyes popping blood vessels. I slowly took out the gun and aimed it at him. He wasn’t impressed, but kicked over his gun on my account.

“I want to know what killed those kids.”

“You know I should put you down like a dog for even questioning me about 86, because it’s not your goddamned business, but now that we met I’m curious.”

“You said you wanted to have a look at me. Why?”

“I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Everyone in town is talking about your arrival, Jackson. Everyone in Old Town.”

My hand trembled; suddenly the gun’s weight more than I could take.

“I wondered why you called for me, but you couldn’t help it could you? Coming back, reliving it all. You want to know all about Dorley, all about the murders. Going around town with Paulie Glass, searching for clues, I know all about that. Well it’s your lucky night, Jackson. I’ll tell ya, this one is a real mess. I’ve kept this town safe ever since They came, kept it locked to sick and lonely drifters such as you, but misery knows no rest so here it came, bringing every damned agent in the state. And you.”

I took out the photo from my pocket and tossed it at him.

“You’re worried they’ll find out about what happened to Anne. You worry I’ll tell them.”

He picked up the photo and tore it in two.

“She drowned.”

I half-squeezed the trigger.

“Yeah? Let me put a bullet through your skull and say you slipped.”

“You got courage, but you’re reckless. They will fuck you up and no one will hear about it, and I’m fair in giving you a chance right now to take a different road and leave Dorley.”

I urged my gun at his face.

“I want to know the truth.”

Wayman’s voice rumbled low in his throat.

“The truth is that there is more in the eyesight of people then they see. They neglect what sleeps in the womb of darkness. The only difference between what lays in the deep and what surfaces and crawls on shore, is that the latter knows about you and its coming. You don’t know what you’re up against.”

My words fell unspoken as warmth spread over my neck, pain surging through my skull. I dropped to my knees, taking down a blurred, distorted vision of Frank Wayman, before I slammed my face against his hard floor. There were two quick gunshots thundering inside a vacuum around my head and I felt something drop on the floor beside me. Last thing I saw before blacking out was Paulie fucking Glass’s face looming over me.

Chapter IX

Some Men Would Let the World Burn

I had luck or some divine intervention or well something winning for the second time the Flash! Friday micro fiction contest and it was a back to back win too with me being the winner of the previous issue! Read the winning story bellow and there’s a one minute interview with me with cool questions at the link above. Photo prompt for the contest:

Some Men Would Let the World Burn

Let dollars be thrown in the air in celebration of the future, of prosperity and innovation, and let the electrical body be immortalized! Let men from each side of the world join hands and put great minds together to create and improve. But God, let that be at a lower cost.

Oh, how each light bulb pulsates with power, so bright! So many!

In the crowd I am alone, amongst the buzzes and the clacks of apparatus modern and astonishing. Beyond that I see a society that does not abide by the rules given to it by Destiny. I breathe the air of its false utopia and it sickness me. I have seen a future of Godlike men, emotionless. So tell me Lady Republic, what shall I do to save you?

Ah, there comes old Moore, frightened and absurd. Is it the look of my own handmade apparatus?
“Visconti, wait! What are you doing?”

Salvaging, cleansing. Let it all burn.